WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today supported passage of the Email Privacy Act, a bipartisan measure he co-sponsored to modernize electronic privacy laws and protect internet users from warrantless searches. Lance serves as the Vice Chair of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee and updating privacy laws is one of his top priorities. The measure would revise an arcane 1986 law permitting warrantless searches of emails dated older than 6 months.
“Right now government officials can legally search some electronic communications—even emails—without a warrant. That needs to change. I firmly believe the protection from illegal search and seizure extends to emails and the digital space and this measure ends the ability of government to overreach. Email users deserve privacy and they do not want invasive federal agencies obtaining personal email account information and other digital communications without a warrant. It’s time to update email privacy laws and bring them into the 21st century,” said Lance.
The measure will update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which currently allows government agencies the ability to access electronic communications that have been stored for 180 days without a warrant. Under this statute, emails and other electronic communications do not receive the same Fourth Amendment protections as physical correspondence, which would require a warrant to access.
“By updating this statute we build trust among government, service providers and consumers,” concluded Lance.